A deserted island... a lost man... memories of a fatal crash... a book written by a dying explorer. Dear Esther is a ghost story told using first-person gaming technologies. Rather than traditional gameplay, the focus here is on exploration, uncovering the mystery of the island, of who you are and why you are here. Fragments of story are randomly triggered by moving around the environments, making every telling unique. Features a stunning, specially commissioned soundtrack. Forget the normal rules of play; if nothing seems real here, it's because it may just be all a delusion. What is the significance of the aerial - What happened on the motorway - is the island real or imagined - who is Esther and why has she chosen to summon you here? The answers are out there, on the lost beach and the tunnels under the island. Or then again, they may just not be, after all...

Post news Report RSS Dear Esther remake to get commercial release

The remake of the cult source mod Dear Esther will be released commercially in summer 2011.

Posted by on

thechineseroom have announced that the remake of the critically acclaimed, award-winning mod Dear Esther will be getting a full commercial release in summer 2011.

The groundbreaking game, which replaces traditional FPS gameplay with the exploration of a desolate island, a deep and emotional story and a stunning soundtrack, will be launched on Steam later this year. Over the last twelve months, the award-winning mod (Indiecade 2009, Mod of the Year 2010) has been re-developed by Robert Briscoe (Mirror's Edge) in collaboration with the original creator, Dan Pinchbeck.

The re-make features a completely new environment that pushes the Source engine into uncharted territory; a re-orchestrated soundtrack by composer Jessica Curry, new areas to explore and an expanded story.

Originally developed at the University of Portsmouth (UK), Dear Esther has gained a cult following and international critical acclaim since it's first release in 2007. Briscoe and Pinchbeck first showed the rebuilt mod to Valve in 2009 and they were impressed enough to grant a Source license for a full independent release.

Pinchbeck said "We're hugely excited about the license. The new version of Dear Esther will take the game to a completely new level and we're confident it will be one of the stand-out indie titles of 2011. Once again, this shows that games are probably the most exciting and innovative medium on the planet right now, and we're really happy to be right at the cutting edge of that."

"For everyone who played the original mod, we can promise a totally new experience that will keep the soul of the original whilst pushing the game to a completely different level. For people who have never experienced Dear Esther, get ready for a game unlike anything you've ever played. In 2011, we're going to answer once and for all the question of whether games can be art."

You can follow the progress towards launch at www.dear-esther.com

Comments  (0 - 50 of 212)
xxx.xxx.xxx
xxx.xxx.xxx

So are you going to share your earnings with the original creator too ?
ohw wait that is you :) right ? nevermind

Reply Good karma Bad karma+1 vote
Sharkz
Sharkz

Not sure if your being sarcastic but from the original author's (Dan Pitchbeck) comments it certainly looks like he will be getting a cut of the profit and is involved in the project in someway.

We've posted about the change and how we feel about it over at Mod Sentry Modsentry.com

Reply Good karma Bad karma+3 votes
xxx.xxx.xxx
xxx.xxx.xxx

yea i was a little, so how about Valve, they getting any money for the eninge your using (not that they need it)

Reply Good karma Bad karma+1 vote
Sharkz
Sharkz

"Briscoe and Pinchbeck first showed the rebuilt mod to Valve in 2009 and they were impressed enough to grant a Source license for a full independent release."

They are licensed by Valve to use the engine commercially

Reply Good karma Bad karma+2 votes
xxx.xxx.xxx
xxx.xxx.xxx

i hope you find enough people to sell it too, (who havent played it)
Maybe i will try it sometime when it is cheap :) (knowing whats coming and all)

Reply Good karma Bad karma+2 votes
foeaxe
foeaxe

You need some help :)
Get your facts right before you open your mouth...

Reply Good karma Bad karma0 votes
Studios
Studios

It`s better tip for you.

Reply Good karma Bad karma+1 vote
hogan_skoll
hogan_skoll

hell yes this is good news - sad to part with the money but i loved the original so its deff going to be worth it

Reply Good karma Bad karma+4 votes
Boogiepingas
Boogiepingas

So it's no longer a free mod?

Reply Good karma Bad karma+14 votes
Artaxxz
Artaxxz

Fuuuu

Reply Good karma Bad karma+10 votes
Triden007
Triden007

Sheeeeeeee....T!!!

Reply Good karma Bad karma-3 votes
Meraqel
Meraqel

"bla bla bla ... Dear Esther will be released commercially in bla bla bla ..." - Meh

Reply Good karma Bad karma+40 votes
Darthlex
Darthlex

I believe I've read about 4 or 5 comments now, that go "But NS2/Orion/Raindrop/Etc did it too, noone complained then?" and to that, I'll say this:

No, noone complained. Why? Because they were never promised as mods, starting off. They were never labeled as remakes of a mod, showing dozens and dozens of pictures, in order to reel people in.

NS2 started right off with saying "Hey guys, we are doing an Indie now" same goes for Orion, going "Orion is actually a project that has an insanely long story, we are going to release 3 games!" It was all about *brilliant* PR strategies.

Here, we've followed a game for god knows how long. We've not been promised anything, so we are not allowed to rage, make no mistake. Still, we are allowed to be disappointed, in a poor choice of presentation, when we are told that everything we've seen .. A game which we voted 2nd place in the freaking

*UPCOMING MOD OF THE YEAR AWARD* - Keyword here being "Mod"
(Nevermind that the editors also gave it the *Editor's Choice Award* for UpcomingMOTY..)

*Sigh* Before this, I was a definite player .. Yes, I would have contributed, had you needed this kind of help, but this is just 'meh' behaviour to me.

[EDIT]: Gah, fail reply system.

Reply Good karma Bad karma+8 votes
sbnewsom
sbnewsom

Sorry, but Orion was originally promised to be a free mod.

Reply Good karma Bad karma+2 votes
thefoofighter
thefoofighter

True and now its not even on the source engine anymore
Pffft

Reply Good karma Bad karma-1 votes
Vcc2cc
Vcc2cc

It's "no one" not "noone"

Orion wIS free, and once they changed engines- announced it'd be better and cost money.

NS IS free. NS2 is a sequel to an existing game, and since it is on their own engine, they announced very early it'd cost money.

The main problem here is the "all of a sudden" announcement. That's why most of these people are ****** off. They were waiting for their free government **** *** robot, and then a month before release were told it'll cost money.

Reply Good karma Bad karma+2 votes
Dekaku
Dekaku

I am more interested in how much you will charge for it (than for the fact that you will charge for it). I just can not think of Dear Esther as a game you will have to pay 40 Bucks or even more, i mean it is hardly a game the way it is. . . Its too unique / hard to categorize thus also hard to think of a price . . . But oh well we will see once it is released . . .

Reply Good karma Bad karma+1 vote
chineseroom Author
chineseroom

rest assure you will NOT be paying 40 bucks for this, not even close :) - Rob

Reply Good karma+14 votes
Jokerme
Jokerme

I hate it when this happens. Never gonna buy, because I've never thought this as a commercial project. You can't just promise a mod and then decide to sell it and expect people to be happy about it.

I don't care how good the game is. This is just a shameless way to create a fan base and advertise. If I knew this was a commercial project from the start I wouldn't mind but this is just an insult to modding community.

Well then, if this is a commercial project now, let's evaluate it accordingly. As far as I know takes around twenty minutes to finish, there are no enemies, no new gameplay elements, no real story, no puzzles, there is nothing to interact. There are no NPCs, there is no way to increase gameplay time, and no replayability.

Also it has great visuals, and a nice letter.

Interesting game idea.

Good luck competing with good indie projects.

Reply Good karma Bad karma+5 votes
The_Silver
The_Silver

I can't agree more. ;)

Reply Good karma Bad karma+5 votes
Danboe
Danboe

I never saw any "We promise to never ever go commercial" statement, so what are you on about? A really polished project getting a license must be like a dream come true to them.
Your words make you sound like someone jealous, I bet you are too.

Reply Good karma Bad karma0 votes
Jokerme
Jokerme

Promise? Who needs a promise? "Moddb" rings any bells? I was following a mod, not a game.

Reply Good karma Bad karma+3 votes
Guessmyname
Guessmyname

It was originally a mod, in case you hadn't noticed. It's simply graduated.

Natural Selection 2 also shows up here, no-one complains about that.

Reply Good karma Bad karma+1 vote
Jokerme
Jokerme

Natural Selection is a full free total conversion mod for Half Life. Natural Selection 2 is a full game with a brand new engine from the start. NS2 shows up on Moddb, because it's a game in IndieDB.

Reply Good karma Bad karma-1 votes
Dekaku
Dekaku

Not to mention
Red Orchestra
The Ball
Damnation
Killing Floor
all started as mods and are now being sold
(There was also this other game which name wont come my mind so *shrugs*)

Reply Good karma Bad karma+2 votes
Rawket
Rawket

Reasonable because they all started from scratch to make them. This however, did it from scratch with the intention of releasing it free then came around and said "YOU GOTTA PAY MAN". Douchey if you ask me.

Reply Good karma Bad karma0 votes
Cyowolf
Cyowolf

Gotta agree with that. It's a real slap in the face to make something for free, with all signs pointing that it will stay free, then abruptly turn around that it is going commercial.

Let me put this bluntly. Knytt's Story deserves a commercial release FAAAAAAAAAAAR more than this does. If only due to the fact that it would be worth the price, thanks to the gameplay mechanics and wonderful modding tools. (and some of the trippiest stuff I have EVER seen)

Reply Good karma Bad karma+4 votes
greenmachine
greenmachine

No, they all started as mods.

Reply Good karma Bad karma+1 vote
xxx.xxx.xxx
xxx.xxx.xxx

raindrop :) is going over to indiedb Moddb.com

Reply Good karma Bad karma+2 votes
jjawinte
jjawinte

Well, we can stop following it now amigo.

Reply Good karma Bad karma+2 votes
Guessmyname
Guessmyname

Don't blame the creators for your own assumptions. It's not like there isn't a free version available. It's like the GMod9 / 11 situation: limited free version, paid-for extended version.

As for modding / commercial... you're aware most Indie game producers start out as modders, right? Once you get to commercial quality, it's only fair to go commercial. And Briscoe has long since proved this is of commercial quality.

Reply Good karma Bad karma0 votes
Jokerme
Jokerme

They should release their mods before making a commercial game. Old Dear Esther was mediocre at best as far as level design goes. I was following this release just because of its level design.

Don't bend my words. I said if it was a commercial game from the start I wouldn't mind. But they just used mod community to advertise their game.

First release what you were doing, then make a game. That how modding works.

Reply Good karma Bad karma-4 votes
Guessmyname
Guessmyname

That's what they've done...

The initial Dear Esther release? Free mod. Yes it's a little mediocre in visuals, but it was a proof-of-concept and critically acclaimed in spite of this.

This forms the foundations for the remake, which boosts the visuals beyond commercial level (it's on the Source engine after all, and it certainly beats out Ep2's already high visual standard), which will add to the immersion and experience praised of the original, still freely available mod, along with fixing all the hiccups and nitpicks thrown up in the original release.

So they should make a mod, then move on to make a game? Guess what, you're looking at it.

Reply Good karma Bad karma+4 votes
Danboe
Danboe

"First release what you were doing, then make a game. That how modding works."

People mod because they wanna utilize the engine but can't pay for a license to go independent, these guys got a license and can do that.
Theres no golden modding rule that you can't "convert" a mod to an indie, the only things that's changed is that they can distribute it commercially now.

They got a lucky break, get over it!

Reply Good karma Bad karma+3 votes
Darklord42
Darklord42

Well personally, I don't mind parting with 10-20$ And lord knows I will when this comes out. But I can't help but have mixed feelings about this. And Jokerme has a lot of good points.
For me, I always felt that this was a work of art. Something that can only be born out of the modding community. And having to be charged as if it were a game feels like I'm having to pay strict admission at the Art Museum. There is a reason why they have operated on the model of suggested donations and this was what I hoped Dear Esther would become so even hoes of limited funds or, lets face it, simply lack a credit card can enjoy it. You have to be of a certain age to get a credit card after all. And this will certainly limit those who experience it.

Ive always felt that because it was in the pretense of a game being released on Valve, that that would limit the core of the viewers to college age gamers. And that has always made me a little sad...
And now this might limit that group further.

Believe me, when it comes out I will show it too everyone I can.

Reply Good karma Bad karma+4 votes
Dekaku
Dekaku

To be nitpicking, you do not have to use a credit card to buy something from steam . . .

Reply Good karma Bad karma+1 vote
Darklord42
Darklord42

Unless you are referring to receiving as a gift. You need Visa or Mastercard.

Reply Good karma Bad karma+2 votes
Darklord42
Darklord42

I have been thinking about it, and this really is for the best! Lets face it, if they stayed as a mod the only people who would get to enjoy this are people who own a source game. Not to mention the fact that the price of this project will probably be less then HL2. But only gamers, and the project deserves to be viewed by more than that. As people keep repeatedly saying, its not a game. I do wish for the donation model, but if that is not possible for them to reach their eventual goals then so be it. I, for what little its worth, give them my full support! And for whatever the price is when they get around to it ;)

Reply Good karma Bad karma+1 vote
angrysasquatch
angrysasquatch

Agreed, it can't really stand on its own as an indie game. I suppose if it were a fraction of the price of other indie games (which have far more gameplay), then it might be worth it. But Dear Esther could honestly be better in almost every respect as a CGI movie. Considering this is just a graphical overhaul of DE, why not go one step further and make it a movie, it would look way better than the aging source engine, even with all the good stuff they were able to squeeze out of it.

I was also just on thechineseroom's site, apparently they showed Valve the DH remake in 2009, and Valve was so impressed they gave them the go-ahead for a source license. Therefore, they've known for just under 2 years they were gonna make it indie, but withheld that information. Smells like they wanted to keep the bait and switch going for as long as they could. Analyzed as an indie title, DH isn't that astounding, they knew that and wanted to keep it as a mod for as long as possible as there are lower standards for mods than commercial releases.

Reply Good karma Bad karma+3 votes
CockyBoi
CockyBoi

Wow, didn`t know that part about 2009 actually.

Reply Good karma Bad karma+3 votes
Dekaku
Dekaku

To be fair you can not say, that this was out of the blue, since they have asked us what we would think about Dear Esther becoming something to pay for. . . So no big surprise that they did it in the end.

Reply Good karma Bad karma+1 vote
Povuholo
Povuholo

Indeed, they have said in the past that they were considering it.

Reply Good karma Bad karma+1 vote
Argoon
Argoon

No story?! Dear Esther is all about story and how it is told to you. So stop the wining already and be glad they will make it a indie game with more production value them is already apparent in the fantastic level design on the remake.

Reply Good karma Bad karma+1 vote
thegentleman
thegentleman

I suddenly feel so proud to be Portsmouthian.

Reply Good karma Bad karma+2 votes
Theon
Theon

FFFFFUUUUUUUUUUU-

Was good, but not PAYING to play the same short-story again.

Looks purty, good luck.

Reply Good karma Bad karma+3 votes
Soldier11
Soldier11

I'm kind of disappointed. I don't really know what it is, but the action of the mod team is shameless towards the community and fans. Of course, it's understandable. They spent a lot their time to create outstanding content. The team have definitely proven their talent.
Obviously they want to get a reward for their hard work now. Charging money is the easiest way to achieve that reward.

Is it really needed to betray all the followers? It' ridiculous in my opinion....

I fully agree to Jokerme, too.

Reply Good karma Bad karma+9 votes
Guessmyname
Guessmyname

Um.

"The team have definitely proven their talent. Obviously they want to get a reward for their hard work now. Charging money is the easiest way to achieve that reward."

You've just explained a perfectly valid reason for them to go commercial, and then you call it shameless. Undermine your own argument, much?

Valve granted them a license, I think that proves they have the skill to deserve the chance to go commercial.

Reply Good karma Bad karma-3 votes
Jokerme
Jokerme

If it was a game it wouldn't be shameful, they were creating a free mod as far as I remember.

Reply Good karma Bad karma0 votes
HmTervapuro
HmTervapuro

We should be proud a few of us indie developers got their hands on a license and got commercial, instead of whining about money.

Reply Good karma Bad karma+3 votes
gazornonplat
gazornonplat

Can't wait, whatever this is going to be priced at, I'll pay it, because you guys have well and truly earned it.

Reply Good karma Bad karma0 votes
Post a comment
Sign in or join with:

Only registered members can share their thoughts. So come on! Join the community today (totally free - or sign in with your social account on the right) and join in the conversation.

Follow Report Profile
Icon
Half-Life 2
Creator
chineseroom
Contact
Send Message
Release date
Mod watch
Follow
News
Tags
Release
Browse
News
New
Post news
Report
Report
Share
Related Mods
Related Games
Half-Life 2
Half-Life 2 First Person Shooter